A Matter of Prestige?

bennie-green-jazz-vinylAre we finally starting to see the Prestige records follow the same path as the Blue Notes? I’ve been quite surprised at the price of several Prestiges recently, including the Sonny Stitt record I mentioned last week and this one that sold yesterday on eBay: Bennie Green With Art Farmer, Prestige 7041. This was an original New York yellow label pressing. The record was listed in M- condition and the cover was excellent. Great pictures from the seller are always helpful in achieving high prices. Still, I wouldn’t have pegged this record to sell for $860, which was the final price. Careful readers may recall that I purchased an original copy of this record for 25 cents. It was sitting in the bargain bin at Mr. Cheapo’s record store in Mineola on Long Island. I typically never looked in the 25-cent bin because it was always junk. But this day I was looking to kill time and not go back to work and, voila, there was Bennie Green With Art Farmer. Now the condition was just VG for the record and VG for the cover. But it was literally a quarter, the same as the parking meter outside the store. Still have it. The record, not the quarter. 

Here’s another Prestige that went for a high price, although this one may be skewed because the real collectible value is probably more in the Andy Warhol cover than in the actual contents of the music or the musicians: The Story of Moondog, Prestige 7099. This was an original New York pressing in M- condition for the record and VG++ for the cover. It sold for $698.01. I sold my copy on eBay a few years ago. If I recall, it was about $300. There was a time where I thought I would be a Prestige completist, at least for the yellow labels, but I gave up that idea and when I listened to the Moondog record there was nothing on it that would ever convince me to listen to it again, so I decided to sell it, without regard to the label or even the cover art. I don’t think I regret it. Certainly not like I regretted selling Lee Morgan Candy or Jackie’s Pal 25 years ago to buy a frickin’ boat that sank.

I also realized I never officially closed the books on that copy of Ike Quebec Soul Samba, Blue Note 4114, which I was watching last week. It sold for $860.

Yes.

It sold for $860.

In case you missed it, that was $860.

14 comments

  • Wow…that Bennie Green cover is CRISPY! (So is the Sonny Red cover in the previous post.) That yellow really pops when that jacket is clean. I paid a fair chunk of change for a VG+ copy of this at Academy Records a couple years ago. I had never heard the album before but they played “Skycoach” for me in the store and I was hooked. I ultimately recorded it and sold it to break even, decidedly not impressed by the sound on this slightly worn copy. My budget doesn’t allow me to keep expensive records hanging around unless they’re truly amazing sounding.

    As for the price, I’m never surprised by truly NM records selling for a lot more than usual. The closer and closer a record gets to ‘perfect’, the price accordingly seems to increase exponentially.

  • Oh. Plus, that was an Atomic Records auction. Most stuff they sell automatically sells for 25-50% more than usual because of their reputation. Good for them and good for wealthy people who can afford to bid above market value on records. There’s a handful of sellers like this on eBay who often have nice pieces like this that I will never bid on because I assume the final price will be above market value. (I would retract my above statement about the Bennie Green selling for a reasonable price but in this case I think it did. It’s a rare record and even rarer with that yellow on that cover looking that clean.)

  • Bennie record does have a lot going for it, Ear, RVG, N.Y.C. DG label, Frame cover in beautiful condition and the music is not half bad either.

  • I can tell as a “younger” person (I refuse to say Millennial; I’m on the border anyway), don’t discount the hipster factor when it comes to Moondog records and any people buy them. It’s almost as bad as Captain Beefheart.

    I threw on a Sonny Stitt CD at work the other day, it was a Prestige best of. I think his problem was that he was the ultimate jack of all trades, more like a Swiss Army Knife. On this comp alone you could hear him in organ trios, tenor battles, playing modern 60s pop songs, more bar walkin’ stuff… He could do it all. He just wasn’t Bird.

  • Rich- by the way, I somehow missed that you had that Prestige Jazz Quartet record featured on your site. Great record! I own an absolutely cherry copy (jacket and record) that I found last year along with Gil Melle’s GIL’S GUESTS in similar shape. Two highly uncommon records, I’m sure.

  • I’m really not surprised that the Moondog sold for $698. A few years ago, I sold a mono (LM) Horowitz lp on RCA, with a Warhol cover for $540, and this one was only in VG condition. Other than the Warhol cover, this lp had nothing going for it. Horowitz lps on RCA don’t sell very well, especially the LM mono versions. But because of the Warhol cover, it sold big. At least the “Story Of Moondog” lp was in M- condition and on a more interesting label.

    Regarding the rising prices of Prestige lps… As the prices on Blue Notes keep rising, I think many collectors are turning to Prestige as they’re more affordable. I still think NM Sonny Rollins lps on Prestige are underpriced.

  • Technically, that Moondog cover may be regarded as a Mrs Warhola design. I remember seeing a lovely Warhol letterhead on a website devoted to letterhead designs. It utilised the same US-style cursive writing as the Moondog cover and the Monk/Rollins/Foster Prestige 7053. The explanation given regarding the letterhead was that it was Warhol’s common practice to get his mother to write out the cursive script needed, to which he would add whatever other font or graphic elements were required. I’ve always loved this story because it seems to fit perfectly with Warhol’s ethic.

  • aw, come on juancho. i don’t know much about moondog, but it IS genuinely possible to like things that you personally might not like. beefheart is fabulous in my mind!

    and the irony of a vintage jazz collector using ‘hipster’ as a pejorative is beyond palpable.

  • Well Rich, one can argue that the market is set with every transaction. I’ve purchased several LPs from Atomic and have been dissatisfied only once and they accepted the return no questions asked. Yes, they probably get a premium most of the time, but they are a class act as an eBay seller IMO. I suppose anyone purchasing VG+ and better vintage jazz LPs these days must be “wealthy” given the prices on eBay and at the record shops.

    Case in point is Rudolf’s current auction. Condition of his LPs is in the 99th percentile, with prices to match.

    But I understand your point.

  • GTF- been collecting/playing jazz and records since I was15 (am now 37). Was hip before hipsters killed it. They’re now squarer than the squares, to quote early Mad Magazine. ?

    I dig Zappa, just can’t get into Beefheart. My strong collection of Tom Waits bootlegs may give me away, though…?

  • Sorry, this code doesn’t like emoijis. I’m not so quizzical.

  • Getting acclimated to Beefheart does require repeated listenings. But if you can handle Ornette and Cecil Taylor, then the Captain is a piece of cake.

  • I hear you, Bill. I think of him as the Ayler of rock and roll.

    Juancho, it ain’t about the time man. The only person that can kill things for you is you!

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